In the very first season of Tinkergarten, the threat of playing with kids in the spring rain terrified me. How could I make this work? Would anyone come? And, if so, would they enjoy it?
Then, the best thing that happened: It rained. Nearly everyone came. We made umbrellas from burdock leaves. We splashed. We sang about the rain and drank it in. It was memorable for all (my own child still talks about it), and I got more positive feedback from that Tinkergarten class than any of my dry ones. We had all stretched outside of our comfort zones, and it felt great.
Fast forward a few seasons, and I had the same worries about winter. “How can the cold season work in an outdoor classroom?” I know many parents wonder the same thing. Whether you’re in Buffalo or Austin, cold is cold, and winter is winter.
But winter is just like my rainy day. Playing outside in winter is not only delightful—like all play in nature, it also makes for powerful learning.
Practically speaking, as long as everyone is well dressed in warm, appropriate layers of clothing, there’s neither danger nor discomfort in being outdoors in the winter. As an elementary school principal and a mom, I’ve also seen the impact on kids’ wellness when they stay indoors.
Winter is Good for Kids.
As an elementary school principal and a mom, I’ve seen the impact on kids behavior and bodies when they stay indoors.
Health professionals agree that time outdoors in the winter is healthy for kids, as long as they have the right gear (find our Winter Gear Guide here). We know when cold is too cold to be safe, and most winter days are just fine. Plus, if we teach our kids techniques for staying warm, we arm kids and families with the knowledge and the confidence to enjoy outdoor time all year long. Kids will also develop resilience and grit—and the gift of regaining a quarter of their potential lives in nature!
Plus, if we teach our kids techniques for staying warm, we arm kids and families with the knowledge and the confidence to enjoy outdoor time all year long. Kids will also develop resilience and grit—and the gift of regaining a quarter of their potential lives in nature!
Winter is Fun!
Whether you are cracking ice puddles in St. Louis or celebrating the arrival of migrating birds and miracle berries in Miami, your winter is full of amazing sights, smells and sensations that are not to be missed.
Lean into Winter in Your Way!
For more winter wellness ideas, join and ask in our #OutdoorsAll4 Facebook Group—a perfect place to connect with thousands of caregivers, educators, and Tinkergarten Leaders all working to build purposeful outdoor play into their routine!
Get tips and ideas about how to dress kids (and you!) to enjoy wintery time outside in our Winter 2022 Gear Guide
Once you're geared up, we wish you the best of adventures outdoors this winter. And, we’ve got all of the play ideas you need to keep kids active, joyful and learning outside. Check out our free DIY Activities for at-home ideas or learn more about Tinkergarten classes with a curriculum that’s designed to fill your weeks with outdoor play.